State Superintendent Served 2 Subpoenas, Request For AG Investigation

Walters and McBride haven't seen eye-to-eye, and now with subpoenas in the mix, the tension between them has grown. McBride served Walters with two subpoenas and a request for an attorney general investigation.

Friday, June 7th 2024, 3:33 pm

By: News 9, Haley Weger


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We’re taking a deeper look into the back-and-forth between State Superintendent Ryan Walters and State Representative Mark McBride. Rep. McBride has now served Walters with two subpoenas and requested an investigation from the attorney general. 

On May 23rd, a subpoena was sent to Ryan Walters, saying in part, “You are hereby commanded to produce any contracts relating to Matt Langston’s work on behalf of the Oklahoma State Department of Education…”

The subpoena has the signatures of both Representative Mark McBride and House Speaker Charles McCall and gave Walters until June 3rd at 9 a.m. to hand over the requested information. 

Walters responded on May 30th, saying in part, “In response to the surprise and unusual act of sending a subpoena to my office for the second time, I want to respond in a timely manner. It is unfortunate, but the subpoena outlines items that have already been responded to by my office. It appears you have been misinformed.” 

Even days after the subpoena, both parties are still not happy. Rep. McBride says he does not have all of the information he needs on Matt Langston, while Walters says this is all an attack on him and his administration.

“There's just a lot of questions,” said Rep. McBride. “I think the win is knowing the truth.”

“I don't think Matt Langston is serving a positive role for the Oklahoma Department of Education, I think he is there drawing a check and for what reason, I don't know, but I don't think he's had a positive influence on our education in Oklahoma at all,” said Rep. Mark McBride, ( R) House Education A&B Chair.

Langston serves as the “Chief Policy Advisor for the department,” according to Ryan Walters.

McBride has taken his concerns to the attorney general, requesting the AG investigate whether Langston is a “ghost employee.”

McBride sent a letter to Attorney General Genter Drummond urging his office conduct a thorough investigation to determine: 

  1. Whether Mr. Langston is a current employee of OSDE
  2. The specific duties and responsibilities assigned to Mr. Langston
  3. Evidence of Mr. Langston’s fulfillment of these duties, including work records, attendance and completed projects
  4. Any discrepancies or irregularities in the documentation related to Mr. Langston’s employment

A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office says they are still reviewing the request for the investigation. Walters says he’s not worried.

“I don't have any concerns over that, I mean Mark can send all the dumb letters he wants, I mean Mark doesn't even understand what he's asking for,” said Walters.

The state superintendent is now claiming that Rep. McBride is being persuaded by outside groups.

“What we've seen for a long time is teachers unions and these radical lgbtq+ groups have targeted my administration,” said Walters. “Mark McBride has been their champion.”

We looked into claims made by the state superintendent that Rep. McBride is “bought and run by teachers unions.” 

We dug into campaign finance reports to see if the Oklahoma Education Association is contributing to his campaign. Candidates are required to file regular reports with the Ethics Commission. Those reports are posted online for anyone to search. 

Rep. McBride says the OEA has been a contributor to his nearly $400,000 campaign fund, but only a minor one over the years. 

“My only connection with anybody with anybody would be OEA, which they aren't a union, they might have given me $6,000 or $8,000 so it's not like I'm taking tons of money from them,” said Rep. McBride.

Reports show OEA has contributed $15,000 to McBride's campaign since 2018. McBride has been the Chair of the Education Subcommittee on Appropriations and Budget since 2021.

“The teachers union and the radical lgbtq+ groups reach out to Mark McBride and say ‘Hey we want you to attack Ryan, subpoena him again’ and he says ‘Yes - I'll do it’ and he gets the speaker to sign off on it as well,” said Walters. 

Walters has been critical of Rep. McBride for months now, but for the first time, is also coming down on House Speaker Charles McCall.

“He sided with Mark McBride, the lLGBTQ+ groups the teachers union, and the Democrats. he allowed the Democrats to control him and his office in these subpoenas. he knew they had all the information, he decided to partner with them so that's a decision he has to face,” said Walters.

McBride calls Walters' latest moves “political drama.” 

“The childish behavior of name calling and putting people down, that's just kind of a little man wanting to be a bully,” said Rep. McBride.

House Speaker Charles McCall responded in a statement saying:

“I have personally always supported Ryan Walters in his role as state superintendent. Furthermore, this session the House provided additional funding and kept the proposed SDE rules in place. In fact, The House is the primary source of dozens of strong, conservative policies over the last few years, and both mine, and the House Majority Caucus’, conservative credentials speak for themselves. The Oklahoma Legislature was recently ranked as one of the two most conservative in the nation.
With that being said, the House has a duty to ensure that tax dollars are spent legally and responsibly by the agencies we appropriate. I take that responsibility very seriously. To fulfill this duty, our budget chairs will regularly reach out to the agencies they oversee and request documents they need to verify questionable expenditures. Most agencies turn those documents over right away. In rare instances, an agency won’t immediately comply with a request. Twice this session, SDE has failed to timely provide documentation related to questions regarding how tax dollars were spent after several requests. I believe most Oklahomans would agree that holding agencies accountable for the spending of tax dollars is a proper, and conservative, thing to do.”

The Oklahoma Education Association responded in a statement: 

“A Republican lawmaker and a Republican Speaker of the House subpoenaed the SDE regarding a six-figure "ghost employee," as part of their oversight of public dollars.
It is unfortunate that instead of addressing concerns about taxpayer waste, the State Superintendent continues to lie about OEA, create boogeymen, deflect and resort to name-calling in order to avoid consequences and accountability.
As educators, we would not accept that from our students and we should not accept that from him.”

As all of this has been happening, democrats continue to call for Walters to be impeached. Republicans have said from the very beginning that an impeachment vote would only happen if Walters commits a felony.

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